Is Removing Amalgam Fillings Worthwhile?

Jul 01, 2022


Removing amalgam fillings is worthwhile. Today modern dentistry offers better materials and options than the old amalgam fillings. You do not have to experience the risk or the despair caused by the harmful outcomes of the amalgam fillings. There is a perfect option of avoiding this by having your amalgam fillings safely removed.

Safe amalgam removal is worth it as it is the borderline between your health and illness. All dental amalgams have approximately 50% mercury which can pose a danger to your life. Removing the amalgam fillings can save you from being exposed to significant mercury. This is done by inhaling and ingesting the mercury vapor released in the removal process.

What are Amalgam Fillings?

Amalgam fillings are a type of dental filling material used to feel the cavities caused by tooth decay. It is a mixture of metals and a powdered alloy containing tin, silver, copper, and liquid mercury. Approximately half the components of the filling are elementary mercury in weight.

The chemical properties of the mercury allow it to react with the other components and bind it together with the copper, silver, and tin alloy particles to the amalgam. Therefore, amalgam fillings are often referred to as silver fillings because it has a silver-like appearance. However, this term is not recommended as it does not contain any silver component.

When placing the amalgam fillings, your dentist will first drill your tooth to remove the decay and shape the tooth cavity for placing the amalgam filling. Next, your dentist at South Austin will mix the liquid mercury with the encapsulated powdered alloy under appropriate conditions to form an amalgam putty. The soft amalgam putty is then placed and shaped in the cavity, where it rapidly hardens to a solid amalgam filling.

Mercury in Amalgam Fillings

As mentioned above, an amalgam filling contains approximately 50% mercury. Mercury is a metal used for strengthening. When the amalgam filling starts to deteriorate, the mercury can leak as particulates or vapor, putting the patient at increased mercury exposure. In addition, when these amalgam fillings eventually need replacement, as most of them do over time, their removal can expose patients to mercury.

Exposure to the harmfulness of mercury occurs in several different ways. The amalgam fillings give some small particles and vapor, which may increase with teeth grinding, excessive gum chewing, or taking carbonated drinks. You might inhale the small particles and the vapor.

Some studies have shown that the mercury levels in your body increase as the amalgam fillings weaken. During the replacement process, a rotating tool used for cutting, known as a dental tub, is used to remove the filling. Research also indicates that mercury levels in blood and urine also increase by 50 percent during this process.

Mercury is a neurotoxin, and when you use the amalgam filling, it is implanted close to the brain. That’s why the specialists at Lifetime Smiles Cosmetic Dentistry advise that amalgam fillings should not be exposed to:

  • Pregnant women
  • Children
  • Dental workers
  • Patients with kidney problems
  • Individuals who are sensitive to mercury
  • Nursing mothers

Removal of Amalgam Fillings

Many dental organizations advise against replacing your amalgam fillings if they are in good condition, as removing them may expose the patient to mercury vapor. Mercury-free dentists, however, believe that removing and replacing amalgam fillings can be performed safely and has many health benefits.

Mercury-free dentists don’t use fillings with any amount of mercury, and they are specialists in the safest options for removing amalgam fillings. The following precautions are taken during your amalgam removal in Austin, TX:

  • Patient draping to limit any skin contact
  • Cutting the amalgam filling un large pieces
  • Rinsing the patient with activated charcoal
  • Having a circulation of fresh air in the treatment room
  • Using a saliva ejector and water spray

These precautions are designed to prevent the patient from contact with the mercury in the amalgam fillings either through skin contact or inhalation. In addition, having the patient rinse their oral cavity with activated charcoal ensures that there are no lingering traces of mercury.

Alternatives to Amalgam Fillings

There are various alternatives to amalgam fillings that your dentist near you can use to restore the shape and function of your teeth. These fillings include:

  • Glass ionomer white fillings
  • Porcelain white fillings
  • Gold fillings
  • Composite white fillings

Book an appointment with dentist in Austin,TX